When it comes to software-defined storage (SDS), small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are getting the short end of the stick, according to Hans O’Sullivan, CEO of storage virtualization software specialist StorMagic.

Known for its SvSAN virtual storage area network software platform, StorMagic seeks to cost-effectively enable organizations of all sizes to capitalize on the flexibility and data availability provided by today’s software-defined storage solutions. SMBs share the same “need of high availability as the large enterprises, but need to do it in a small a footprint as possible,” O’Sullivan told InfoStor.

To provide it, and other advanced capabilities, O’Sullivan’s company partnered with PC and server maker Lenovo on a new line of hyper-converged system bundles.

“We’ve developed a solution to virtualize storage easily,” O’Sullivan said of the products, which integrate compute and storage. “We’re bringing hyper-convergence into the entry-level.”

Starting at $5,000 for a 2-node Lenovo RS140 and StorMagic SvSAN cluster with 2 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity, and available now through technology distributor Arrow Electronics, the new systems combine StorMagic’s SvSAN software with Lenovo’s server hardware. Server options include entry-level systems like the 1U ThinkServer RS140 and System x3250 M5, or the ThinkServer RD650, a 2U system.

By eliminating the need for a local SAN and abstracting storage services, among other storage management capabilities, a starter RS140 and SvSAN configuration costs 33 percent less to purchase than a comparable setup. The savings extend to operating costs that are 40 percent lower, courtesy of reduced power and cooling requirements.

Targeted at SMBs or multi-site enterprises, the pre-integrated appliances are a low-cost way for growing businesses and remote teams to enjoy the benefits of highly available shared storage and business applications, said Brian Hamel, vice president and general manager of the Lenovo North America Enterprise Business Group.

“It’s simpler for the client to acquire the appliance. It provides higher value, in simpler, more cost-effective packaging,” he said. More important, it allows smaller IT organizations to benefit from some of the latest efficiency-improving data center innovations.

“Hyper-convergence is one of the fastest-growing segments” of the IT market, Hamel said. Lenovo’s server legacy – inherited from IBM – and StorMagic’s SDS expertise “allow us to be very strong together in the SMB space.”

Whereas other vendors are jockeying for a slice of massive enterprise IT budgets, the companies see an opportunity in underserved markets. “I see the marketplace shifting to the SMB and midmarket,” Hall said. “That’s where they greatest value is achieved.”